ALBERTO ALFARO (World Language – Spanish)
Alberto is from Monterrey, Mexico, and enjoys going back home every year. Alberto has taught English and Spanish as foreign languages to kids, teens and adults for 13 years in two different countries.
Alberto and his wife Megan were married in 2005 and have 4 boys and 1 girl. The family moved to Grand Junction from Mexico in 2007 and after years of being a US permanent resident, Alberto became a US citizen in 2012.
The Alfaro family owns a store on Main Street, Grand Junction and Alberto also enjoys playing sports, traveling, church and playing with his kids any time he gets the chance.
Stephanie Soto (World Language – Spanish)
Stephani Soto is a Spanish teacher for Juniper Ridge. Originally from Atlacomulco, Mexico, she has lived in Grand Junction for the past 18 years. Stephani learned English by going to school and got many opportunities to help other students learn English throughout her education. In 2012 she got the opportunity to teach elementary through high school kids how to speak English in Cosanga, Ecuador, through the local non-profit, Sustainable Roots. Now she is very excited to be able to teach her native language to the kids at Juniper Ridge, which include her nieces Zahira and Gisell Miño.
ANGEL MARTIN (Handwork)
A native of Colorado, Angel moved to the Grand Valley when she was in eighth grade. She is a graduate of Central High School and she attended Mesa State College as a music/theatre major. She was raised in a family environment that included some very crafty people who influenced her love of creating all sorts of hand-made art. As a young adult her fascination with history caused her to pursue learning several crafts that would be considered nearly lost arts.
Angel loves sharing her knowledge as much as she loves learning new crafts and skills. She also loves spending time with her children, grandchild, and all her critters.
DEB HALEY, aka Ms. Fun (Games, grades 1-6)
Deb, or “Ms. Fun”, as all the students call her started at JRCS the very first year. Deb found joy playing games as a kid and loves to help the students experience that same joy in games class.
She has a Master’s Degree in Family studies and her favorite game is badminton.
HEATER OZAETA (Games, grades 7-9)
Heather grew up in the Grand Valley and graduated from CMU with a bachelors in Kinesiology (Exercise Science). She holds her certification as an Exercise Physiologist from ACSM. She has a passion for helping others develop their own love for an active and healthy lifestyle. She has enjoyed careers as a Licensed Massage Therapist, Health Coach, and Personal Trainer. She is excited to be a Games teacher at Juniper Ridge, and endeavors to bring a love for active fun to the students.
As a mom of two, Heather keeps busy enjoying adventures with her family. Her personal passion is distance running, and also enjoys hiking and bike riding with her kids.
JESSICA COOPER (Music Education)
Jessica Cooper is a fiddle player, song writer, and strings teacher. She learned improvisation through years of sitting in on bluegrass picks and jams and chose the topic for research during her graduate studies at the University of Colorado. She has attended the Rocky Grass Bluegrass academy for several years, learning from players such as Sarah Watkins, Chris Thile, Jason Carter, Byron Berline, Richard Green, Darol Anger, Casey Dressen, Brian Wicklund and Ryan Drickey. She believes that studying American folk music gives students a sense of culture and that learning improvisation is the key to unlocking one’s creative potential in music.
In her ten years of classroom teaching she has turned what she learned into a systematic series of lessons that builds performance confidence, strengthens ear training and teaches music theory at an application level all with a smile on your face.
LEAH MANEE (Choir, Grades 6-9)
Our choir instructor, Miss Leah Manee, holds a B.A. in Music and plays multiple instruments, but says she enjoys singing the most. She pursues singing/songwriting in her spare time, also teaching voice lessons and performing in the community. Under her tutelage, the students will be developing their musical skills, learning to work as a team, and unlocking their creative potential.
Rob Labig (Band – Grades 8-10)
Rob Labig is a master teacher, working musician, and mentor to drummers and musicians of all ages. As a full-time music educator and performing musician, Rob operates RL Drum Studio in Grand Junction, CO and has a B.A. in Music Performance from Colorado Mesa University. Rob is also a drum-line coach, competition judge, and clinician and the musical director of Talking Rhythms, a percussion ensemble which provides interactive musical education in schools and the greater community. He performs with innumerable artists and ensembles/bands all over Western Colorado, including the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra since 1992 and the Western Colorado Jazz Orchestra since 2003.
Rob has a passion and a special ability to enable learners of all ages to achieve their dreams of being able to play and perform music far above their present ability
LAURA CARTER (Garden Coordinator)